German communication agent of the Russian president

The $17 billion deal between Rosneft and British oil and gas giant British Petroleum was consulted by the firm with the participation of an old Putin friend, Matthias Warnig.
German businessman Arthur Matthias Warnig is one of the few foreigners who are part of the management of the largest Russian state-owned companies and banks. Here he is the absolute leader: Warnig is on the board of Rosneft and Transneft, on the supervisory board of VTB, on the administrative board of the Swiss Gazprom Schweiz, which sells Asian gas, and the executive director of another Gazprom company in Switzerland, Nord Stream 2 AG , Created for the planning and construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline. People who know Warnig say that he is well acquainted with the Russian president, in excellent relations with the chairman of the board of Rosneft Igor Sechin and other high-ranking people.

As it turned out, Warnigu owns a stake in Lambert Energy Advisory. She was hired by a British oil and gas giant British Petroleum (BP) as a consultant, who at that time quarreled with partners in Russia and faced major problems in the Russian market. BP paid Lambert Energy for consultations within the framework of the historic deal in 2012, when the British sold to Rosneft their half of Russian TNK-BP, receiving $ 16.65 billion and 12.84% of the shares of the Russian state-owned company.

Former partners and opponents of BP did not believe in the possibility of such a deal and even publicly called the reports about it a "bluff." The Russian government openly declared that the deal was not supported. "Companies urgently need to have friends in Russia," then wrote The Wall Street Journal.

How did the British oil and gas giant manage to find such friends?

"For faithful service"

"Matthias Warnig was an employee of the Ministry of State Security of the GDR (" Stasi ") - one of those who maintained contacts with KGB operatives in East Germany, namely in Dresden. At the time, there were only 6 such employees in Dresden, including Vladimir Putin, Nikolai Tokarev, who now heads Transneft, Evgeny Shkolov, the current assistant to the president, "says their former colleague, who is also familiar with Warnig.

Sam Warnig said that he met Putin in 1991, when he opened the St. Petersburg representation of the BNP-Dresdner Bank, and does not comment on personal relations in public.

In the official biography of Warnig, there is not a word on the websites of Russian state-owned companies that he worked for East German intelligence. But back in 2005, Novaya Gazeta published his registration card in the Stasi, according to which the GDR was admitted to the Ministry of State Security in 1975, and a gold medal "For Faithful Service" was awarded a month before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, the former members of the East German security service were subjected to great pressure, it was difficult for them to find a job, they could not find themselves in any public positions," said the acquaintance of Warniga. "But soon the situation changed, until pragmatic Germans realized that with such experience, with such connections and knowledge about the life of the Eastern bloc, these people can be in demand in business."

So in 1990, Warnig started working at Dresdner Bank as an adviser and head of the department, and the following year he was already opening a St. Petersburg representation of BNP-Dresdner.

"Putin is a grateful person and has an affection for familiar people. They crossed with Warnig in St. Petersburg, where Putin was then at the head of the committee on external relations of the mayoralty. So began working and friendly relations ", - recalls the acquaintance of Warnig. Foreign investors were needed, and Warnig, although recently started working in a bank, had an economic education and represented the system from within. On the other hand, German bankers needed people who understood the reality on the other side of the border. So, according to friends, Warnig became a link. And moreover, he and Dresdner Bank contributed to the rehabilitation treatment of Vladimir Putin's wife after the 1993 car accident. Such actions the president of Russia does not forget, - people who know him well, assure.

When Putin became president, the role of Warnig as a connecting link grew significantly.

"Everyone understands that he can go to the office to Vladimir Vladimirovich, enjoys his great confidence and consults him on important issues. So, if he says something, one should listen to this, because a person can perform delicate tasks, "says a former high-ranking Russian official familiar with Warnig.

In 2002, Warnig headed Dresdner Bank in Russia, in 2003 he joined the board of directors of St. Petersburg Bank Rossiya, which united the acquaintances of the Russian president. And in 2004 he became chairman of the managing committee for Russia and CIS of the investment "daughter" of Dresdner, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DKW), which began to advise Gazprom. The business of Dresdner Bank in Russia went well, especially with state-owned companies. In 2003, DKW was among the lead managers for a loan of $ 500 million for Rosneft, a syndicated loan of $ 350 million for Transneft and 10-year Eurobonds of Gazprom for $ 1.75 billion.

Such ties and experience in the Russian context can not be overemphasized.

"Model Shareholder"

Warnig became a co-owner of the British consulting company Lambert Energy Advisory Ltd. In 2008 - is not only the classic British office on the 4th floor of the old brick building on Hill Street in the central London area of Mayfair just 300 meters from Hyde Park, but also the famous founders and managers. The company was founded by Lord Rockley, an aristocrat who was an adviser to Her Majesty's government in privatizing the state-owned British Telecom (a £ 4 billion deal involving 2.3 million private shareholders was completed in 1984).

Lord Rokley in the mid-90s was chairman of the British investment bank Kleinwort Benson, and his business partner, co-founder Lambert Energy Philip Stevin Owen Lambert, worked there. The Lord died at the end of 2011. The main owner of the consulting company Lambert Energy is now Philip Lambert and his family.

Excessive publicity and even the Lambert Energy website are not needed. Their consultations are strictly confidential, and the composition of shareholders guarantees their popularity - among them the firm of the former head of the Ministry of Energy of Norway Torah Sanvold and the former British diplomat, former special adviser to the oil and gas giant BP Sir Jeremy Greenstock. He is also chairman of Lambert Energy.

As the British aristocrats met Mattias Warnig, and why he became a co-owner of their company, neither the representative of Warnig, nor Lambert Energy is not responsible. But given that the Dresdner Bank, where Warnig worked, bought Kleinwort, where Lambert and Lord Rockley worked in 1995 (for $ 1.6 billion they could have points of contact and occasions to meet.

To the questions of Novaya Gazeta, Philip Lambert replied only that since 2008 Matthias Warnig - "exemplary, proven and long-term shareholder of Lambert Energy", congratulated on Easter and invited them to visit their office on occasion.

Warnig owns 12% in consulting Lambert Energy through his Swiss firm Interatis AG. The representative of Warnig also confirmed this "New".
"They were decaying them properly"

Under what circumstances, British oil and gas giant BP hired Lambert Energy as a consultant and why did The Wall Street Journal state that the British urgently need "friends in Russia"?

"They were dignified for them," one of those who was doing business with BP at that time told Novaya Gazeta.

The conflict between BP and Russian shareholders around TNK-BP lasted several years, since 2008, and was proceeding with the use of an entire arsenal of funds - from Russian law enforcement and taxation bodies to international courts. British BP owned half of the joint company, and the other half was from the Russian consortium AAR: Alfa Group Mikhail Friedman and Herman Khan, Access Industries Leonard Blavatnik, as well as Renova Viktor Vekselberg.

In May 2008, Russian shareholders demanded the resignation of TNK-BP President and Managing Director Robert Dudley, because in their opinion, he acted solely in the interests of BP. The British did not want this resignation.

In July 2008, Dudley was even forced to leave Russia and lead the company from abroad. He explained this with problems with the work visa and the "persistent pursuit" of the company and his personally.

"We have faced a number of unprecedented investigations, trials, inspections and other complexities," Dudley's statement to Interfax reported. TNK-BP conducted several inspections of the labor inspection, the prosecutor's office and the Federal Tax Service. And Dudley himself was accused of administrative violation.

In 2011, the conflict erupted with renewed vigor because of BP's desire to directly agree with Rosneft on joint exploration and production on the Arctic shelf, bypassing TNK-BP. Russian shareholders opposed and sued the Stockholm arbitration, blocking the deal.

And in 2012, exhausted by conflicts, BP made a statement that it is ready to sell 50% of TNK-BP and that there is an offer from the buyer on this score. They immediately started talking about the fact that Rosneft could be such a buyer. Co-owner of TNK-BP Friedman in an interview with The Wall Street Journal called the statement BP bluff in order to mislead investors. Russian shareholders did not believe that apart from them there are applicants for the purchase.

"The Russian consortium did not welcome such an idea, because it did not want to be alone with the state company," says the man who was in business with BP.

BP's desire to sell Rosneft shares, given the political ties of Russian shareholders, did not meet the understanding in the Russian government. First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov publicly opposed the transaction. "I do not even want to think about it. Perhaps inside of any of these companies there are such thoughts, but we do not support them, "he told The Wall Street Journal.

"Shuvalov's position was sincere and consistent, in the government were against the strengthening of state companies," - says a familiar Russian shareholders. Representative Shuvalov did not comment on the situation.

What kind of "friends" in Russia could help a British company get out of this situation?

"Strict standards of confidentiality"

The British consulting company and BP do not want to answer questions about why Lambert Energy was chosen as a consultant, and whether Matthias Warnig, a member of the board of directors of the state-controlled Rosneft, is involved. They also do not answer the question whether Warnig did anything during the period of these consultations.

It's not just about his acquaintance with high-ranking Russian officials, but also about business. If one Swiss firm Varniga - Interatis AG owned 10% of the BP consultant in the deal with Rosneft, then another company - Interatis Engineering in 2014 participated in a joint pharmaceutical project with the Moscow company Artpol Holding, Sergei Shmatko. "Artpol" and Interatis belonged to 10% of producers of antitumor drugs "Refnot-Farm" and "Firm Enzyme". The total revenue of these pharmaceutical companies exceeded RUR 1.2 billion over 5 years. Prior to this, Shmatko was Minister of Energy during the conflict between BP and Russian shareholders. And if Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov opposed the deal between BP and Rosneft, Minister Shmatko in 2011 publicly announced that it would be implemented.

The Board of Directors of Rosneft approved the deal with BP in November 2012, and by 2013 it was completed.

The representative of Warnig, BP, Lambert Energy and Rosneft do not answer detailed questions, whether there was a conflict of interest in this story and how much a member of the board of directors of Rosneft, Warnig, earned because the company consulted BP with his participation.

A spokesman for Warnig told Novaya Gazeta that "his participation in the affairs of Lambert Energy is limited solely to his role as a minority shareholder" that "he does not have any managerial or supervisory position in the company" and his "financial benefit consists solely in receiving dividends , Which are set by the decision of the general annual meeting of shareholders of Lambert Energy ".

"Mr. Warnig attaches paramount importance to good faith conduct of business in accordance with standards of corporate governance and prevention of conflict of interests. This also applies to his minority participation in Lambert Energy ", - assures the representative of Warnig.

"We observe strict standards of confidentiality with regard to our clients and our business, and we have neither the will nor the opportunity to discuss your detailed questions," said Philip Lambert, "New", emphasizing the rigidity of the company's standards and control procedures.

"The work that Lambert Energy performed for us is confidential, and we can not comment on it," a BP spokesman told Novaya Gazeta without answering questions about Varnig's role in the deal with Rosneft.

The representative of Rosneft did not answer the questions of Novaya Gazeta.

Experts find it difficult to assess what could be the fee for consulting services in the framework of such a transaction.

"It can be very expensive consulting. The uniqueness of the composition of consultants and the potential to influence the situation usually directly affects the amount ", - the partner of Paragon Advice Group Alexander Zakharov shares his opinion.

At the time of the transaction, Rosneft approved a policy on combating corruption: the company had to collect and verify information, in particular, about a possible conflict of interests.

"The Board of Directors of Rosneft has agreed a deal with BP in 2012. Warnig - a member of the board of directors of Rosneft and a person with large connections, was simultaneously a shareholder of BP consultant firm. And then I took up business with a man who at the time of the deal was the Russian Minister of Energy. All this could form a conflict of interests, "the general director of Transparency International Russia Anton Pominov shares his opinion.